China–North Korea border

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China–North Korea border
Border stone china-corea.jpg
Inscription stone marking the border of China and North Korea in Jilin
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese中朝邊境
Simplified Chinese中朝边境
Korean name
Chosŏn'gŭl
조선민주주의인민공화국-중화인민공화국 국경
Hancha
朝鮮民主主義人民共和國·中華人民共和國 國境
Revised RomanizationJoseon Minjujuui Inmin Gonghwaguk – Junghwa Inmin Gonghwaguk Gukgyeong
McCune–ReischauerChosŏn Minjujuŭi Inmin Konghwagukᆞ – Chunghwa Inmin Konghwaguk Kukkyŏng

The China–North Korea border is the international border separating the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea).

Geography[edit]

Sino–Korean Friendship Bridge, linking Dandong with North Korea

The border is 1,420 kilometres (880 mi) long.[1] From west to east, the Amnokgang,[2] Paektu Mountain, and the Tumen River divides the two countries.

Dandong, in the Liaoning Province of China, on the Amnokgang delta, is the largest city on the border.[3] On the other side of the river is the city of Sinuiju in North Pyongan Province, North Korea. The two cities are situated on the Yalu river delta at the western end of the border, near the Yellow Sea. Their waterfronts face each other and are connected by the Sino–Korean Friendship Bridge.

There are 205 islands on the Yalu. A 1962 border treaty between North Korea and China split the islands according to which ethnic group were living on each island. North Korea possesses 127 and China 78. Due to the division criteria, some islands such as Hwanggumpyong Island belong to North Korea even though they are on the Chinese side of the river. Both countries have navigation rights on the river, including in the delta.

The source of the Yalu is Heaven Lake on Paektu Mountain, which is considered the birthplace of the Korean and Manchu peoples. This lake is also the source of the Tumen River which forms the eastern portion of the border.

There are a significant number of ethnic Koreans in Northeast China, particularly in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture.

Trade and contact[edit]

The Beijing - Pyongyang passenger train passes Dandong

Its border with China has been described as North Korea's "lifeline to the outside world."[1] Much of the China-North Korea trade goes through the port of Dandong.[2]

Chinese cell phone service has been known to extend as far as 10 km (6 mi) into Korean territory, which has led to the development of a black market for Chinese cell phones in the border regions. International calls are strictly forbidden in North Korea, and violators put themselves at considerable peril to acquire such phones.[4]

Tourists in Dandong can take speedboat rides along the North Korean side of the Yalu and up its tributaries.[5]

A common wedding day event for many Chinese couples involve renting boats, putting life preservers on over their wedding clothes, and going to the North Korean border to have wedding photos taken.[6]

Memory cards and teddy bears are reportedly among the most popular items for North Koreans shopping in Dandong.[7]

Crossings[edit]

The Ji'an Railway Bridge between Ji'an, Jilin Province and Manpo, Chagang Province of North Korea.
China-North Korea Border Crossings
Name Bordering
Chinese town
Bordering
Korean town
Open to
third
country
nationals
Railway crossing Notes
Hwanggumpyong Island Tangchi,
Zhenxing, Dandong
Sindo,
North Pyongan
No No Planned
New Yalu River Bridge Tangchi,
Zhenxing, Dandong
Sinuiju,
North Pyongan
Yes No Under construction
Yalu River Broken Bridge Tangchi,
Zhenxing, Dandong
Sinuiju,
North Pyongan
No No Defunct
Sino–Korean Friendship Bridge Tangchi,
Zhenxing, Dandong
Sinuiju,
North Pyongan
Yes Yes [a]
Yalu River Broken Wooden Pontoon Zhenzhu Subdistrict,
Zhen'an, Dandong
Sinuiju,
North Pyongan
No Yes Defunct
Hekou Broken Bridge Changdian,
Kuandian, Dandong
Sakju,
North Pyongan
No No Defunct
Upper Hekou Railway Bridge Changdian,
Kuandian, Dandong
Sakju,
North Pyongan
No Yes
Ji'an Railway Bridge Ji'an City,
Tonghua
Manpo,
Chagang
No Yes
Ji'an Road Bridge Ji'an City,
Tonghua
Manpo,
Chagang
No No Under Construction
Chagang Samgang Railway Bridge Yunfeng Lake,
Ji'an, Tonghua
Manpo,
Chagang
No Yes Defunct
Kuunbong Railway Bridge Yunfeng Lake,
Ji'an, Tonghua
Chasong,
Chagang
No Yes Defunct
Linjiang Yalu River Bridge Linjiang City,
Baishan
Chunggang,
Chagang
No No
Changbai-Hyesan Bridge Changbai,
Baishan
Hyesan,
Ryanggang
No No
Karim Bridge Ershidaogou,
Changbai, Baishan
Pochon,
Ryanggang
No No Defunct
Samjiyon crossing Erdaobaihe,
Antu, Yanbian
Samjiyon,
Ryanggang
No No Near Paektu Mountain
Guchengli Bridge Chongshan,
Helong, Yanbian
Taehongdan,
Ryanggang
No No
Nanping Bridge Nanping,
Helong, Yanbian
Musan,
North Hamgyong
No No
Sanhe Bridge Sanhe,
Longjing, Yanbian
Hoeryong,
North Hamgyong
No No
Chaokai Bridge Kaishantun,
Longjing, Yanbian
Sambong,
Onsong, North Hamgyong
No No
Tumen Border Railway Bridge Tumen City,
Yanbian
Namyang,
Onsong, North Hamgyong
Yes Yes
New Tumen Border Bridge Tumen City,
Yanbian
Namyang,
Onsong, North Hamgyong
Yes No Under Construction
Tumen Border Road Bridge Tumen City,
Yanbian
Namyang,
Onsong, North Hamgyong
Yes No
Liangshui Broken Bridge Liangshui,
Tumen, Yanbian
Onsong,
North Hamgyong
No No Defunct
Hunyung Railway Bridges Ying'an,
Hunchun, Yanbian
Hunyung,
Kyongwon, North Hamgyong
No Yes Defunct
Shatuozi Bridge Sanjiazi,
Hunchun, Yanbian
Kyongwon,
North Hamgyong
No No
Quanhe-Yunting Bridge Jingxin,
Hunchun, Yanbian
Wonjong,
Rason
Yes No [b]
  1. ^ There are four weekly trains with hard and soft sleepers from Beijing to Pyongyang via the Sino–Korean Friendship Bridge, as well as a weekly carriage attached to the Vladivostok train from Moscow, via Harbin, Shenyang, and Dandong.[8]
  2. ^ Special entry permits are required to enter Rason instead of the standard DPRK visa.[9]

Border security[edit]

The border at the Yalu River delta near Dandong in 2012

The 1,420 km border between North Korea and China has been described as "porous".[1] Many North Korean defectors cross into China.

The Chinese government transferred responsibility for managing the border to the army from the police in 2003.[10] Chinese authorities began building wire fences "on major defection routes along the Tumen River" in 2003.[11] Beginning in September 2006,[11] China erected a 20 kilometres (12 mi) fence on the border near Dandong, along stretches of the Yalu River delta with lower banks and narrower width.[2] The concrete and barbed wire fence ranged in height from 8 feet (2.4 m) to 15 feet (4.6 m).[11]

In 2007, a U.S. official stated that China was building more "fences and installations at key border outposts".[12] In the same year, it was reported that North Korea had started building a fence along a 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) stretch of its side of the Yalu River, and had also built a road to guard the area.[13][14]

In 2011, it was reported that China was building fences 4 metres (13 ft) high near Dandong, and that 13 kilometres (8.1 mi) of this new fencing had been built. It was also reported that China was reinforcing patrols, and that new patrol posts were being built on higher ground to give wider visibility over the area. According to a resident of the area: "It's the first time such strong border fences are being erected here. Looks like it is related to the unstable situation in North Korea." The resident also added that previously "anybody could cross if they really wanted" as the fence had only been 10 feet (3.0 m) with no barbed wire.[15][16]

In 2014, journalist who visited Dandong reported a low level of security.[17] In 2015, fencing was reported as the exception rather than the rule.[18] In 2015, a photojournalist who traveled along the Chinese side of the border commented that fencing was rare and that it would be easy to cross the Yalu when it was frozen. The same report noted friendly contact between people on opposite sides of the border.[19] In 2018, a photojournalist drove along the border and described it as "mile after mile of nothing, guarded by no-one".[20]

In 2015, a single rogue North Korean soldier killed four ethnic Korean citizens of China who lived along the border of China with North Korea.[21]

Rumours of Chinese troop mobilizations on the border frequently circulate in times of heightened tension on the Korean peninsula. According to scholar Adam Cathcart, these rumours are hard to substantiate and hard to interpret.[22]

A leaked China Mobile document that went viral on Chinese social media on 7 December 2017 allegedly revealed Chinese government plans to construct five "refugee settlement points" along the border to North Korea in Changbai county and Jilin province.[23][24] This was apparently in preparation for a large influx of North Korean refugees if the Kim regime collapsed in a potential conflict with the United States. The Guardian quoted the document: "Due to cross-border tensions … the [Communist] party committee and government of Changbai county has proposed setting up five refugee camps in the county."[25]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Onishi, Norimitsu. "Tension, Desperation: The China-North Korean Border." The New York Times. October 22, 2006. Retrieved on October 23, 2012.
  2. ^ a b c Kanto, Dick K. and Mark E. Manyin. China-North Korea Relations, Congressional Research Service (December 28, 2010).
  3. ^ Rogers, Jenny. "New group reaches out to China." Gold Coast Bulletin. October 2, 2012. Retrieved on October 23, 2012.
  4. ^ North Korea: On the net in world's most secretive nation (BBC)
  5. ^ "A trip to the North Korea-China border, in photos". NK News. 29 May 2015.
  6. ^ Hessler, Peter (2006). Oracle Bones. New York et al.: Harper Perennial. p. 62.
  7. ^ Reuters (4 December 2016). "Thanks for the memory cards; North Koreans return from China". www.atimes.com. Retrieved 7 December 2016.
  8. ^ "Trans-Siberian Railway Tours" Accessed 2014-05-25
  9. ^ "North Korea Fast-Tracks Entry Visas For Rason SEZ". 2016-09-26. Retrieved 2019-01-04.
  10. ^ Foley, James. “China Steps Up Security on North Korean Border”, Jane's Intelligence Review, 1 November 2003.
  11. ^ a b c Ng Gan Guan, China Erects Fence Along N. Korea Border, Associated Press (October 16, 2006).
  12. ^ www.dailynk.com "China Troops Increase at North Korean Border"
  13. ^ www.edmontonsun.com "North Korea building fence on China border"
  14. ^ "Report: N. Korea building fence to keep people in". Houston Chronicle. Archived from the original on 1 May 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2009.
  15. ^ Foster, Peter and agencies, Beijing. "China builds higher fences over fears of instability in North Korea." The Daily Telegraph. March 30, 2011. Retrieved on October 26, 2012.
  16. ^ "China boosts North Korea border fence." The China Post. Thursday March 31, 2011. Retrieved on October 26, 2012.
  17. ^ Comment: The absurdities faced by North Korean refugees in China
  18. ^ Rob York (25 February 2015). "The myth of a sealed China-N. Korea border". NK News.
  19. ^ "A trip to the North Korea-China border, in photos". NK News. 29 May 2015.
  20. ^ Sagolj, Damir (15 April 2018). "A road trip on the edge of North Korea". Reuters.
  21. ^ https://www.yahoo.com/news/runaway-n-korean-soldier-kill-four-chinese-reports-060526414.html?bcmt=1420505551797-974622bd-2486-431b-8e29-2290873790fc&ref=gs https://www.yahoo.com/news/china-village-defenceless-against-north-korean-intruders-055043942.html?ref=gs
  22. ^ Cathcart, Adam (20 October 2017). "Tigers in the Haze: Chinese Troops on the Border with North Korea in the 'April Crisis'". China Brief, Jamestown University.
  23. ^ "US-North Korea tensions fuel fears on Chinese border". Financial Times. 10 December 2017.
  24. ^ Perlez, Jane (2017-12-11). "Fearing the Worst, China Plans Refugee Camps on North Korean Border". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-12-13.
  25. ^ Phillips, Tom (2017-12-12). "China building network of refugee camps along border with North Korea". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-12-13.

External links[edit]